Jamaican sprint star Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce roared to her fourth 100m World Championships title in 10.71 seconds on Sunday, before she settled for a calm walk around the state-of-the-art Khalifa International Stadium with her son, Zyon, resting on her shoulders acknowledging the audience she had just sent into a rapturous applause.
Once Fraser-Pryce hit her drive halfway through the sprint, Dina Asher-Smith was locked in a battle with Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Ivory Coast for silver, which the former won in a British record of 10.83.
Ta Lou took bronze in 10.93 seconds.
“Standing here having done it again at 32, and holding my baby, is a dream come true,” Fraser-Pryce said after her spectacular win. “I had no sleep last night. I can’t believe it. I worked so hard to be back. The field was so strong, I had to come good here and I’m so excited to come out with victory.
“(My son) Zyon and my husband have been my strength. When I found out I was pregnant, I was a nervous wreck, I was so worried about a lot of things, but now Zyon is my source of strength, my hope.”
Like the 32-year-old from Kingston, another new mother, Allyson Felix of the US, won a gold – her 12th to be precise.
Felix broke her tie with Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt for Worlds golds after she combined with teammates Wilbert London, Courtney Okolo and Michael Cherry, as the Americans broke the 4x400m mixed relay world record for the second time at Doha 2019 for the gold.
Felix extended her record of most medals at the Worlds to 17.
There was again a change in conventional running order as Poland’s Rafal Omelko went against the other ladies on the second leg, handing a healthy lead to Iga Baumgart-Witan, who then passed on the baton to Justyna Swiety-Ersetic. The latter was still in the lead at the bend but Cherry and Jamaica’s Javon Francis had hit their rhythm in the anchor leg and made their move.
Jamaica picked up a silver, while Bahrain won a bronze.
Christian Taylor of the US endured some anxious early moments with two no-jumps to start his triple jump final round, even as compatriot Will Claye set the marker at 17.72m.
But it wasn't until his fourth attempt that the two-time Olympic champion Taylor got going, jumping 17.86m, which in hindsight would have been enough for a gold. In the fifth, he was in sight of his fourth world title when he came up with a 17.92, even as Claye jumped his second straight 17.74.
Hugues Fabrice Zango dislodged Portugal's Pedro Pablo Pichardo for bronze when he jumped a 17.66 on his final attempt going past Pichardo's 17.62.
A final effort by Russia’s Anzhelika Sidorova, competing as a neutral athlete, elicited a thunderous applause as the 28-year-old cleared a world leading 4.95m for the women’s pole vault world title.
Sidorova, who had lost out to 2017 champion Katerina Stefanidi of Greece at the Diamond League finals in Brussels earlier this month, was locked in a battle of ‘who blinks first’ with Sandi Morris of the US, with both the athletes clearing five heights right up to 4.90m on their first attempts.
After Stefanidi failed her first attempt at 4.90, she had the bar lifted to 4.95, dislodging it twice to settle for bronze.
Both Morris and Sidorova elicited massive "oohs" and "aahs" from the crowd as they couldn’t clear on their first two attempts.
Just when you thought the contest will have to be decided in a jump off after Morris missed her third attempt too, Sidorova came up with a fantastic third effort for her first World Championships medal.
“All my performances at the World Championships were too unsuccessful. Certainly, I looked forward to stop this bad ‘tradition’,” Sidorova said after her win.
“A few weeks ago, I cried when I lost the Diamond League final. Now I’m glad I was beaten there. It made me angrier, stronger and much more focused on the season’s main goal.”
Morris, who is all set to marry in a couple of weeks, said, “I knew it was going to be between me and Sidorova, I just knew it. This exact scenario happened in reverse at the indoor world championships when she got second. I guess she owed me one for that. But I can’t even be mad. But maybe this is building up to something bigger next year.”
Earlier in the evening, Britain's Adam Gemili ran the fastest time in the first round heats for the men's 200m, winning the first heat in 20.06 seconds, even as 2019 leader Noah Lyles, who did not run the 100m the day before, ran a much sedate 20.26 to finish second in the seventh and final heat behind his training partner Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago. Also in the next round is Canadian Andre de Grasse, who won bronze on Saturday in the 100m dash.
"I expect from myself to keep winning as the rounds go on, trying to conserve energy and hold it off and let it loose at the finals. It feels go with this first race at these championships. It's been a long time in the making (to be at my first senior world championships)," Lyles said after the heat.
For both the Team Qatar athletes, the day ended in a heartbreak as the campaigns of both Abdelaziz Mohamed and Abubaker Haydar Abdalla came to an end.
While Mohamed ran a season’s best of 20.75 in the fifth heat of the men’s 200m, it was only good enough for a fifth place, and out of contention for the place in the next round.
The men’s 800m Asian champion Abdalla had called it right after the first round heats when he said that 1:44:00 would secure a place in the final.
But the 23-year-old, who continued with his first round strategy to take the lead in the first lap, couldn’t hold on to it as a pacey Wesley Vazquez (1:43.96) of Puerto Rico stayed right on the Qatari heels and eventually took victory in the first heat in the only sub-1:44:00 time of the round. Abdalla’s 1:46.87 took him out of contention.
Kenyan Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich, who has the second fastest time this year, grabbed a spot in the final with the second fastest time of the round, finishing behind Vazquez in 1:44.20.
The pacey first heat meant that Clayton Murphy of the US and Spain’s Adrian Ben, third and fourth behind Vazquez and Rotich, too made it to the final on their time.
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